For any business, search engine optimization is vital for driving traffic to your website. It ultimately increases leads that can help you drive sales. While it is a lot of work, once it’s done it drives a continuous source of leads which can drive your growth for years,
But all websites are not created equal. Google ranks your website and shows only a select few on their front page. After the first page of google, you’ll be hard pressed to find any significant traffic. In fact studies show as much as 70% of all search traffic goes to the top three companies listed.
Think about it. When was the last time you googled something and decided to go past the first page? Everything past page one is practically a graveyard.
But that doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck. Now, I can’t say I’m the top expert on SEO. I will, however, give you a quick summary of things I’ve found useful while doing SEO and taking classes on search engine optimization.
When doing search engine optimization, you have to play Google’s game. And when I say it’s Google’s game, I mean it is their game 100%. No other search engine even comes close to the power Google holds. According to Statista 87% of the worldwide searches were done through Google. The next two include Bing with 5.5% and Yahoo with 2.8%. I may not be a statistician, but those are some significant numbers. If you want to get numbers through Google, you’ll have to dance to their tune.
What I mean by this, is that Google appreciates certain things about websites and decides that the ones that fit in, rank higher up. You might be asking, “Well what is this mold?”. Well, I’ll tell you.
There are quite a few things you need to take into account when trying to appease the almighty Google. I’ll start off by telling you about the basics before I get into the more complicated aspects of SEO.
For one, your website has got to be good looking. Basic, right? You’d be surprised by how many cleaning businesses and other home services have websites that look like the screen of a hacker’s computer in a 80’s movie. These visual atrocities aren’t just ugly, they don’t do anything. It matters. Google can tell if people spend time on your site and fill out a form. An ugly site that does not convert lookers into leads will actually hurt your ranking over time. Google does not want to send people to your website that do not take any action. They see that as someone looked for a service, Google gave an answer, but the consumer did not fill out a form or place a call so they must be unhappy. Google sees that result and decides they need to offer that website up less often as a search result.
You might be thinking, “My website isn’t the greatest, but I still get traffic!” That might be because you have good physical marketing. It’s true. Commercials and advertisements off the internet actually help drive traffic and help your ranking. This is because when people see enough commercials, they’ll search for specific companies online and then Google puts that website higher up. Say someone searches for home cleaning but does not see a well known national brand and decides to scroll down until they see that national company and they request a quote from that company. Google will notice that even though they did not serve up that website at the top, people seem to be looking for it and google will correct their listings as a result. If people skip 1 – 7 and click on 8, Google figures maybe number 8 needs to be higher. Google sees the correlation with that website and the service people are searching for.
You also have to be aware of user behavior. Google pays attention to how users spend their time on websites. They see if the user finds what they’re looking for. Ideally, a user would search a topic, click on a website and then they’d log off, or better yet, spend money. That shows Google the website that the user clicked on, is efficient. The user found everything they needed. What you don’t want is a user clicking on your website and quickly leaving to find another.
Having your users happy with your website depends on how your content turns out. In order to have good content, you’ll need content that’s relevant to your expertise. If you’re a cleaning company talking about luxury cars, your website won’t do well. This is because Google also takes into account EAT. This stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. If you have apparent EAT on your website, like awards and certifications, and make content around that expertise, it’s obvious to Google you are an authority on this topic and will rank you higher.
In terms of creating content, Google has a big soft spot for lists. If you look anything up, you’ll most likely see a few websites near the top listing off “best of, worst of, etc.”. For some reason Google sees these articles as prime real estate. This is why often searches for home cleaning companies in my area returns several Top cleaning service lists from Home Advisor, Porch, and Yelp.Because they work.
Another older method for Google’s ranking system is related to backlinks. If Google sees websites linking to your site, they think it’s a reputable site and it will rank better. This comes from the older days of the Google Algorithm when determining quality sites was more difficult. The best way at the time was to see how many other websites were referencing certain sites. More likely than not the ones being backlinked were often better quality sites. This trick still applies, though it’s not some magic switch to make your website suddenly rank.
When talking about search engine optimization it’s hard to not talk about the backend of the websites. Personally, we use wordpress to handle our website. With wordpress, we get ratings on how well our SEO is looking. Before I came on many of our pages were subpar on the SEO-front. What I’ve learned from working with SEO and wordpress is that if you follow the advice you’ll look pretty good. For instance, having a good keyword phrase that relates to your content is huge. If you take advantage of wordpress, you should be on the right track.
It’s sometimes hard to figure out what key phrases to use. I’ve found using Google analytics is great to figure out what words relating to our content is trending. This in theory should lead to better rankings.
Again, I won’t say I am the top most expert on search engine optimization. I’m simply sharing my experiences and hoping others can make use out of it.
Much of what I’ve learned comes from personal experience and a very informative course that was being taught for free. This course is about 11 hours of collegiate level information regarding search engine optimization. It could sometimes be grueling to get through, but much of the information is very important and easy to understand. It is hard to beat free. In addition, this class makes sense even if you do not want to do your cleaning company SEO for yourself. It also helps you to be an informed consumer of SEO services.
*This section is an edit in regards to the previous paragraph* The course that was previously mentioned is no longer free. During the early parts of quarantine that was the case. If you’d like another free option there is a short, free course offered by HubSpot. Apologies for any inconvenience.
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Hopefully, you’ll take advantage of some of these tricks to make your website rank better! Good luck!
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Brandon is a digital marketing intern working with Blue Skies Services and Cleaning Business Today